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Global Heat Wave; Putin in Iran for Trilateral Talks; Ukrainian Prosecutor General and Security Chief Dismissed; U.K. Conservative Party Leadership Contest. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 10:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Down here on the ground you get a real sense of what the fire fighters are facing.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Wildfires ranging, tarmac melting, train services disrupted, Europe is at the mercy of a ferocious heat wave.

The leaders of Turkiye, Iran and Russia together in Tehran. On the agenda, Ukrainian grain blockage and the Syrian conflict.

And Ukraine's prosecutor general axed, accused of failing to root out Russian collaborators from her office.


ANDERSON: Hours after enduring their hottest night on record, millions of people across the U.K. are sweltering from this country's hottest

temperature ever recorded, as a brutal heat wave bears down on much of Western Europe.

It is so hot train services have been severely disrupted. And flights suspended at one airport outside London on Monday. Part of the runway


France struggling to contain deadly wildfires that have forced 37,000 people to evacuate their homes.

And Spain suspending some train services after video shows how one train was briefly stuck on the tracks surrounded by wildfires.

Much of U.S. is also looking at dangerous temperatures; 100 million Americans under heat alerts right now, with millions more seeing

temperatures hit 32 degrees C.

Nina, let us start with you. High temperatures causing massive travel disruptions.

What do you see?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: I'm here outside King's Cross Station, which is the main station in London. And if you are planning on

heading north in the next few hours, the message is forget it.

All services here have been suspended between 12 and 8 pm today. This is at the height (INAUDIBLE) temperatures are continuing to soar. And speaking of

travel hubs, it was actually at Heathrow airport, the busiest airport main in this part of the world that we saw the highest temperature ever recorded

in the United Kingdom, topping over 40 degrees.

Meteorologists are saying it isn't over. Temperatures will continue to rise and probably will until the mid- to late afternoon. If you're a commuter,

try to avoid stations like these, try and stay home, stay cool if you can.

The rail system train lines are starting to buckle. In the London Underground, trains are having a hard time having to go much slower.

Tarmacs in airports are starting to melt concerns about the road network.

The government's at high alert and may be having an emergency meeting on how to deal with this heat wave, one that many people now put down to

climate change.

ANDERSON: What are authorities doing to help?

DOS SANTOS: Criticism leveled at the outgoing prime minister, Boris Johnson, who skipped an important cabinet meeting with his colleagues, an

emergency COBR meeting at the weekend.


DOS SANTOS: He said this is the effect climate change and remember the U.K. hosted a big climate change summit here six months ago and committed

to net zero pledges. If we don't get to net zero, this is what will happen, he said.

But on the other side he stressed that the economy should carry on going. This is the one year anniversary since the U.K. ended its COVID-19

lockdown. We have a government that is dealing with a precipitous fall in life standards, living standards here in this country, high inflation, high

fuel costs.

So they don't want the economy to grind to a halt again. Big messages for people to try and avoid any open border spaces after at least these

teenagers are feared to have drowned after trying to swim in lakes and ponds to cool down.

People are saying take care of your elderly relatives. Older people and young children will be most at risk. But it's the question of waiting until

the temperature comes down tomorrow.

ANDERSON: Ben, this heat wave could not have come at a worse time for Italy. Explain why and what you are experiencing.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in northeastern Italy, where the temperature is a refreshing 31 degrees, 35 degrees in

Rome. That is not necessarily far out of the norm for Italy.

But what is unusual is just the drought this country is going through. Basically, since the beginning of last winter, there has been very little



WEDEMAN (voice-over): land once lush and productive is drying up. In the delta of Italy's once mighty river, Po, drought has struck.

"Seventy percent of the crop is gone," Federica Vitali tells me. "If it doesn't rain, you can see the plants are burning up."

But this year, the rains didn't come. It's Italy's worst drought in 70 years. Her soya crop is all but gone. The drought has impacted a third of

Italy's agriculture.

It didn't rain much during the winter or the spring. Plus, Italy is going through an unprecedented heat wave, Those combine to create the perfect

storm for Italian agriculture. Five major food-producing Italian regions have declared a drought emergency.

Three generations of Antonio Bezzi's family have cultivated rice.

"We've never seen a drought like this," he says.

Climate change here isn't a myth. It's reality. In the last ten years, Antonio says, the area planted with rice has gone down almost 50 percent as

a result of drought.

Close to the sea, there is water everywhere but not a drop to drink.

In normal times, this is where the salt water reached in this river, about three miles from the Adriatic. But now, because of the drought, because of

the low level of fresh water in the River Po, the salt water reaches about 18 miles inland and that is having a disastrous effect on crops.

Rodolfo Laurenti works for the local water authority, which closely monitors the flow and salinity of water in the Po delta.

At the moment of real climate crisis, he says, is 2022.

To ensure adequate drinking water, one local authority has resorted to renting expensive mobile desalinization plants.

Climate change means we have to be ready for emergencies like this, says director Monica Manto.

Elsewhere, the little fresh river water still available is used to save at least a portion of the rice crop.

The climate scientist, Romana Magno, warns, it's too little and:

ROMANA MAGNO, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, CNR DROUGHT OBSERVATORY: It's too late. What we can do now is try to reduce losses.


WEDEMAN: And as this drought goes on, the losses will only mount.


WEDEMAN: And Becky, just up river from here in the Lombardi region, officials say that the water for agriculture is essentially going to run

out by 30th of July. There is no rain in the forecast at this point.

So definitely this crisis is getting worse and worse. And it is also having other effects. A lot of the electricity in this part of Italy is generated

by hydroelectric power. But because there was very little snowfall in the Alps, there is very little water in the rivers and dams to power of those

hydroelectric plants.

It is having massive knock-on effects not only in agriculture and the power generation but also the economy in general as well. Becky.

ANDERSON: The full 360 from Ben, reporting from Italy. Thank you very much indeed.


ANDERSON: Prepare for the worst seems to be Europe's advice when it comes to Russian natural gas supplies. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline set to reopen

on Thursday after 10 days of repairs. What happens then only Russia knows.

The European commission says 12 countries report disruptions of gas from Russia. Among them is France, which gets 17 percent of its gas from Russia.

Earlier I spoke to the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire about the risk of being cut off.


BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH MINISTER FOR THE ECONOMY AND FINANCE: I will not say that we are concerned, we are just vigilant and fully aware of the risk

of having Russia cutting off all gas supply to Europe. So we have to be prepared.

And we have already taken all the necessary decisions. The first of all to reinforce the supply chain for gas for European countries, especially for

France. We are also in the process of defining the consequences on the private companies, on the households, on all administrations.

So I think that the key thing is to be prepared in the case Vladimir Putin decides to cut off Russia for all European countries. This is one of the

possibilities. We need to be prepared. And we will be prepared.

ANDERSON: You talk about the French and European consumers needing to be more vigilant.


ANDERSON: The heat wave is causing an uptick in demand for energy, not a reduction.

Just how vigilant are you expecting people to be?

Do you have concerns in France and across Europe this winter?

Energy may need to be rationed.

LE MAIRE: I think that the key point is to think about the future, to accelerate all investments that are required on both renewable energies and

nuclear plants. I think that energy will be one of the key advantage for France facing this question of energy supply and the risk of having energy


So I think that this is a very clear message. There is a necessity to accelerate the investment in energies because energy would be at the core

of all economic challenges over the next decades.


ANDERSON: You can see the full interview with the French finance minister, expanding to how France is forging new energy security partnerships in the

face of this shortage. Next hour here on CONNECT THE WORLD, stay with us for that.

Ahead, Russia's president has just arrived in Iran for meetings with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts. What Putin hopes to achieve.

And as Russia's war on Ukraine grinds on, one top Ukrainian official is unceremoniously sacked from her job. CNN presses the former top prosecutor

to explain what happened.




ANDERSON: Russia's president is on his first trip outside of old Soviet borders since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February. Vladimir

Putin's destination and not so veiled message to the West.

He's in Iran for talks with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts. And a meeting with Iran's supreme leader. Russia and Iran both facing down

Western sanctions. Of course, Putin's meeting next hour with the Turkish president will be his first face-to-face encounter with the leader on a

NATO country since the start of the war.

His Iran visit coming just after U.S. President Joe Biden's trip to the Middle East. There is a lot to unpack. Jomana Karadsheh is connecting us

from Istanbul.

We know Syria will be a big part of the discussions today as will the Ukrainian and grain blockade as we understand it.

From the Turkish president's perspective, what does he hope to get out of these meetings?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, very clearly, Becky, Turkish officials, the president has been very clear.


KARADSHEH: Topping the agenda for them is this military operation that Turkiye has been threatening it will carry out in northern Syria for some

weeks now. We have heard from the Turkish president saying that their forces are ready.

We've seen reinforcements moving into northern Syria, saying that they must clear the border region of Syrian Kurdish fighters, the YPG. As you know,

the Syrian Kurdish fighters are considered by Turkiye to be a terrorist group.

And they view them as a national security threat, really an existential threat for this country. And Turkiye has been determined to create this 30

km deep buffer zone on the border with Syria. And they say that other parties in the conflict have failed to do so.

There were agreements in the past where they were going to create this buffer zone. But that did not happen. So Turkiye has been determined to

carry out this offensive. But they will not be able, really, Becky, to go ahead with an offensive like this without getting some sort of green light

from both Russia and, maybe to a lesser extent, Iran.

So this is going to be the main topic of their conversations today. I can tell you a lot of people in this region, in Syria, especially, are watching

this very closely, a lot of concern about this. The Syrian Kurdish authorities there in the past week or so have declared a state of emergency

in anticipation of a military operation.

So we will have to wait and see what comes out of this.

Are they going to get that green light that President Erdogan is hoping to get?

We have heard from both Russia and Ukraine -- sorry; Russia and Iran in recent days, their opposition to this military operation, saying that there

should be a political solution.

But again we will have to wait and see if they do, behind closed doors, give that green light to President Erdogan.

Or is there going to be some sort of an agreement reached between those three countries that would basically mean avoiding a military --


KARADSHEH: -- Becky.

ANDERSON: So this could be very consequential, certainly for Syrians at this point.

Iran's supreme leader's with a warning to President Erdogan ahead of his meeting with President Putin.


KARADSHEH: This is again -- Becky, we have heard the warnings from Iranian officials saying that any attempt by Turkiye to carry out this military

offensive will be destabilizing for Turkiye, for Syria and for the whole region.

And this has really been their position for quite some time. Both Iran and Russia, ,key military players in Syria the backers of the Syrian regime,

they have come out with their opposition very clearly, saying they do not want this military offensive to go ahead.

But we've seen this in the past, whatever their public position is, it will be quite different than what goes on behind closed doors, what kind of

negotiations will be taking place between these three leaders.

You know, these three countries have their differences, they have a very complex relationship between all three. But what we have seen over the past

few years is their ability to actually sit together and to reach agreement, especially when it comes to the deconfliction in Syria.

ANDERSON: Jomana, thank you. That is the perspective from Turkiye as we watch President Putin's trip to Iran. And any agreements on the Ukrainian

grain blockage as well.

We're also following Ukraine's government shakeup in Kyiv. Lawmakers have made President Zelenskyy's request official, dismissing the country's

prosecutor general and its security chief.

Mr. Zelenskyy accused them of failing to root out Russian collaborators from the ranks of their respective offices. CNN's Nic Robertson sat down

exclusively for an interview with the now former prosecutor general.

This is a major shakeup of some of Ukraine's top officials.

What do we understand to have happened?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we know that it was expected for some time that President Zelenskyy would very likely fire

the head of Ukraine's security services, the SBU, because he was widely seen as not up to the job, not qualified for it when President Zelenskyy

appointed him.

He did not have a security background, was a political ally of the president, a childhood friend. He is gone, his deputies gone. Five

different regional heads of the same organization have gone. So those are sweeping changes in that security portfolio. The outgoing chief of the

security services said that he had some regrets. There had been failures.


ROBERTSON: But he also had successes. It does seem to be a different story with the prosecutor general. And that is why we were very keen to talk to

her. I asked her about the central accusation that the president made, in calling for her dismissal.

The parliament pretty conclusively following through what the president said, 265 voting her out, maybe three putting their hands up to say that

she should stay. But the president's accusation was that she was not going after collaborators, people committing treason by siding with Russia, hard


She told me she has 16,000 staff total and there were only five prosecutors, she said, who had remained on the Russian side of the lines.

They been going very hard after people who are collaborating with Russia.

She said it represented a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of the whole staff within the prosecutor general's office, who were now on the Russian

side of the lines and decided to stay there.

So I asked quite simply, if not that, then what?

Here's her answer.


ROBERTSON: Inevitably leads me to ask that question, if you are doing so well there, then what is the real justification and the real justification

is you have a difference of opinions, you do not want to say more than that?

IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, FORMER PROSECUTOR GENERAL OF UKRAINE: You know that my chair is political chair. And when I was 16, Ukrainian prosecutor. Do me

now 30 years. It is realpolitik in Ukraine. And this is manson (ph).

ROBERTSON: Realpolitik?


ROBERTSON: Realpolitik?

VENEDIKTOVA: Realpolik, yes.


ROBERTSON: That's it, work (ph). She feels that there is a difference of opinion between her and the president. Important parts of her portfolio --

and she laid this out for parliament in her final speech, saying fighting corruption was very important. Her role as prosecutor general in filling

vacancies at the supreme court were very important.

But she was not going to get drawn and we did discuss this quite heavily. She was not going to get drawn into a discussion of why she would disagree

with President Zelenskyy and what precisely they disagree on.

She said, look, this is a country at war. If we air our differences openly now, this is going to be exploited by Russia. She said there will be plenty

of time after the war to have these discussions.

The one big takeaway, she said, was that all those in the international community who have supported her on the war crimes investigations against

Russian forces -- and there are almost 23,000 war crimes cases being investigated by the prosecutor general's office -- she said the

international support has been excellent.

And she said it will be important for all those countries supporting Ukraine in this to continue.

ANDERSON: Nic, thank you.

Parts of southern Europe in flames. A drought followed by high temperatures driving intense wildfires. How that is affecting tourism and daily life for

residents. Up next.

Plus the trial begins for White House chief strategist under Donald Trump, Steve Bannon. Why he has always been at the top of the witness list in the

investigation into the U.S. Capitol insurrection. More on that after this.





ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson.

Stifling, scorching, sweltering, call it what you will, it is super hot. The U.K. just hit its highest temperature ever, three centuries of records

broken. Heathrow airport hit 40.2 degrees C. It's so hot here in London that the guards at Buckingham Palace broke their famously stoic stance to

hydrate with a drink of water. That is very unusual.

It is not just in the U.K. Most of Western Europe remains officially under very extreme danger of wildfires. Portugal and Spain report 1,000 heat

related deaths and in France, the forced some 37,000 people to evacuate. CNN's Melissa Bell has a closer look at the threat across parts of southern



MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Southern Europe inflames vast swathes of the Mediterranean engulfed by wildfires driven by the

sweltering temperatures of Europe's second heat wave this summer.

From Portugal through Spain, Italy and France, were one of two massive fires near the city of Bordeaux continue to rage and spread.

Down here on the ground, you get a real sense of what the firefighters are facing. These parched conditions, the earth already dry for so many months

of high temperatures and those high temperatures still continuing.

What the firemen in this case French Air Force firemen are having to do is find those parts of the fire inside the contained zone and put them out as

quickly as they can.

For nearly a week now, temperatures across Europe have soared. In Spain and Portugal, more than a thousand people have died amid record heat, with

temperatures set to rise further and as far north as the United Kingdom.

STEVE BARCLAY, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: Well, the clear message to the public is to take the sensible steps in terms of water, shade and cover.

We're asking people to keep an eye out for their neighbors and those who may be vulnerable.

BELL: The Rome region has declared a state of emergency. After several weeks of drought, some Italian towns now banning the use of water for

washing cars and watering gardens with fines of up to $500.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's ridiculous because the population tries to save money by having a vegetable garden and then you

prevent them from watering your garden but the vegetable garden, it's absurd.

BELL: These are the beaches of southwestern France, the Atlantic coast where so much of France is accustomed to coming to spend its summer

holidays and yet the beaches completely evacuated, the camping grounds as well. Many of those thousands of people who've been asked to go elsewhere,

where people who'd come here on holiday.

To places like Cazaux now the scene of a battle being waged day and night in the face of record temperatures and changing winds.

COL. JEROME FLEITH, FRENCH AIR FORCE (through translator): There is no letup in our efforts, it tests our equipment and our men but we have to

hold the line for as long as it takes.

BELL: A desperate battle against time and temperatures that are set to rise further still -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Cazaux, France.


ANDERSON: Three candidates are now in the running to be Sri Lanka's next leader, including the current acting president. Lawmakers are expected to

select a new leader on Wednesday when parliament reconvenes to hold a secret vote. Sri Lanka, whose economy has collapsed, is struggling with

food and fuel shortages.


ANDERSON: In the U.K., three candidates now remain in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, who is stepping down as prime minister after a series of

scandals. Kenny Bayknock (ph), the former equalities minister, was knocked out of the contest in the forefront of voting by conservative members of

Parliament a short time ago. A vote on Wednesday will decide the final two.

Authorities in Ecuador are working to identify at least 13 prison inmates who were killed in a bloody brawl. This is the same prison where at least

40 inmates died in May. Ecuador has seen hundreds of inmate deaths in recent months due to overcrowding and two rival gang activity.

Day two of the contempt trial for Trump ally Steve Bannon just got on the way in Washington. He is charged with defying subpoenas from the House

committee investigation the January 6 insurrection.

Lawyers began getting the 12 jurors in place Monday. After court Bannon was pleased.


STEVE BANNON, ADVISER TO FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was a very good first day, was a long day for jury selection. I really want to thank all the

jurors for being truthful and blunt. We look forward tomorrow, coming back and we get into it tomorrow so looking forward.


ANDERSON: First on CNN now, new details about what to expect from Thursday's primetime hearing by the U.S. House January 6 committee. Former

Trump White House deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger will testify in public. He is slated to be joined by former White House deputy

press secretary Sarah Matthews.

Both resigned from the Trump administration in the immediate aftermath of the January 6 insurrection. Another former Trump official laid out what

Pottinger's testimony means for their old boss.


MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think the ex-president is really sweating this because, unlike other

people that have testified, where ex-president Trump said this was a low- level aide, I have never seen this person.

Let's be clear: Matt Pottinger was the deputy national security adviser to the President of the United States. He went on trips with him. He sat with

him in the White House Situation Room. He was often where the president was when the national security advisor wasn't.

He was in the Oval Office on calls with foreign leader. This is a very close insider.


ANDERSON: Be sure to catch Thursday's hearing on CNN, set to begin at 8 pm in New York and in Washington. That is 1 am Friday here in London.

Money and golf, two of the things Donald Trump very much enjoys. What they have in common. Details coming up.





ANDERSON: Say what you will, nobody likes a wedding crasher, especially this one.


ANDERSON (voice-over): That wall of waves made quite an entrance at this reception in the U.S. state of Hawaii, sweeping away tables and sending

guests running for safety. Luckily the seafood and the wedding cake survived and the reception went on as planned.